I find Twitter to be paradoxical: in order to stay informed you have to follow other tweets and amass a following of you own; but the more followers you have, and the more organizations/people you follow, the harder it becomes to keep up to date with everything they tweet about and for you to respond to people.
Some organizations like @AHA post a few announcements every day or so. Others like @LoyolaChicago and @ChicagoMuseum post announcements by the hour. The average number of followers seems to be roughly two to three thousand people; @LoyolaChicago has about 7,000 but @fieldmeuseum has over 11,000 followers. It must be difficult to try to respond to each of these followers who have questions. Announcements seem to be the most practical way for organizations to use Twitter.
The trends can also vary in intensity of posts. #history is posted by the minute by all kinds of people (professionals, amateurs, and the immature). #Chicago is posted by the seconds (good luck keeping up with that). Some trends can be thought-provoking, but others can be purely entertaining, like #RandomThoughtsonmyMind.
Overall, I find Twitter to be overwhelming and unnecessary for historians. blogs and websites can easily inform people about a particular subject. I find the 140 character limit to be unnecessarily restrictive. If you are a popular organization with a large following, then twitter is only good for posting announcements. But large followings can lead to an endless barrage of information. Thoughtful discussions should be left to the blogs and discussion forums of other websites.
Twitter is definitely not my thing, but maybe I’m overreacting. What do you think about twitter?